tv Worldfocus WHUT October 27, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tonight on "worldfocus" -- the issue of religious intolerance in europe as the trial of a man accused of murdering a muslim woman gets under way in germany. in the netherlands, the women of srebrenica seek justice for the loss of their husbands and sons as the genocide trial r bosnian serb leader begins. and in our "signature" story, we'll take you to a remote corner of ethiopia they have never heard of barack obama. >> ask him if he's ever heard of oprah winfrey. >> and they don't know about youtube, and yet they do seem happy. from the world's leading reporters and analysts, here's what's happening from around the world. this is "worldfocus." major support has been provided by rosalind p. walter
and the peter g. peterson foundation, dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addresng key economic challenges facing america's future. and additional funding is provided by the following supporters -- hello and good evening. i'm daljit dhaliwal. we begin tonight with an explosive issue that is not getting much attention in this country. religious tolerance, or, rather, the lack of it in europe. the issue has found a powerful focal point in germany where an egyptian woman, a muslim, was brutally murdered this summer. today in the german city of dresden, the suspect went on trial. it all began in a playground last year when the woman asked the suspect if he would give up a swing for her child. he responded by calling her a terrorist and islamist. she sued for defamation and she won.
then in july in a courtroom for his appeal, the man allegedly took out a smuggled knife and stabbed her 16 times. today in that same courtroom, the russian-born german suspect went on trial for murder. in tonight's "lead focus," we cover the story and its ramifications extensively. the reaction among muslims, and how germany considers its reputation at stake especially in the muslim world, as you will hear in our first report from al jazeera english. >> reporter: reviving painful memories, marwa erbini's husband arrived in the dresden court building where she was killed and he was seriously injured. a german man known as alex w. now stands accused of murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. the trial is now happening under tight security. inside the courtroom a bulletproof glass barrier has been installed.
outside the suspected protests failed to happen. egypt's ambassador said he's confident what will come out of the trial. >> a speedy sentence, a just sentence that's commensurate with a serious crime. i ink that's going to happen and i have every confidence in the justice system in germany. >> reporter: marwa sherbini was expecting her second child when, accompanied by her family, she testified at alex w.'s appeal hearg. he'd already been fined for calling her a terrorist and an islamist. it's alleged that alex w. pulled out a knife and stabbed her 18 times with her 3-year-old son looking on. as he tried to intervene, her husband elwy was also stabbed and then reportedly shot by a police officer who arrived on the scene and apparently mistook him for the attacker. in marwa sherbini's native alexandria, her funeral procession turned into a protest. they called her the head scarf martyr. some religious leaders in germany criticized the government's initial muted
reaction. they're now relieved the trial is under way. >> this is a fair trial, from what we can hear, follow up, and i think it is very important for the reputation of germany all over the world, especially in the islamic countries. >> reporter: it's nearly four months now since marwa sherbini was killed in this court building in dresden. her family and their supporters are hoping that over the next few weeks it will be proved that alex w. was sanend intended to kill her. aided by lawyers who traveled fromgypt, the prosecution's hoping for a murder conviction. that could see alex w. receive a life sentence and offer some peace of mind for her family. reporting for al jazeera, dresden. for our second story, we want to take you inside dresden's muslim community to give you a sense of how the killing is affecting people there. not surprisingly, it has caused
a great deal of fear. some say that they have been threatened, but they did speak candidly with our german partner deutsche welle. although they seek comfort in daily prayer, dresden's muslims are still reeling from the tragedy in july. here at the islamic center just outside central dresden, many feel it could have happened to them. they view the killing in the con expression of hatred for their religion. it is hatred from which the state cannot always protect them. >> translator: we're outraged by the vicious murder of marwa sherbini. we're very shocked and we feel we are approaching a threatening situation in the future. >> reporter: many muslim women, especially those who wear head scarves or veils, say they have
been threatened or insulted. out of fear of reprisal, they don't want to be named. >> translator: i'm afraid of going out when it's dark. i don't simply step out and go shopping when it's dark because i'm too afraid to go out. sometimes you get looks. you can see what people think. and you never really know if there's someone there who has a knife in their pocket. >> translator: i had the impression marwa's murder triggered feelings that people could more freely express. to express their hatred, to air it. as if they said, well, someone's done it. it crossed a threshold, is how i put it. as if they said, now it's okay. we can finally let off steam. >> reporter: one place to seek an explanation is the dresden district where sherbini and the accused both lived. in the last election, the far right npd got 7% of the vote. this person was born in egypt and has been living in dresden for 50 years.
he knows from experience that there is racism here. that's why he initiated an integration project with other dresden residents. >> translator: i believe the incident shocked the city and that dresden does not want to be associated with it, with xenophobia, with racism. >> reporter: now the city's developed a plan for promoting integration and tackling xenophobia. but many muslims in dresden say they don't want to wait until it's put into practice. they've established a cultural center as a place of contemplation and open discussion. in memory of marwa sherbini. we want to take a broader look at relations between muslims and other groups in europe where the muslim community makes up 5% of the population. that is about 38 million people. and to do that, we're joined by delancy gusten. she's a specialist on
immigration issues at the german marshall fund of the united states, an organization that promotes greater cooperation between north america and europe, and she joins us from washington, d.c. we just saw in that story a case in dresden, germany, in which there are accusations of discrimination against muslims. how widespread is discrimination? >> well, i think, unfortunately, these violent acts against people of other races or religions are ubiquitous. since this was such an extraordinary case, it made headlines across germany, sparked a lot of discussions and even made a lot of headlines in the international news. what it did was raise awareness of the fact that there are these episodes of xenophobic violence against minority groups in germany. but even though this is not an isolated case, it was an extraordinary one because of the circumstances. >> xenophobic violence based solely on religion or also to do
with cultural issues perhaps even racial issues? >> well, i think what we have here in this particular case because dresden is part of the former east germany. and in dresden there are less than 2% of the population which is of a migrant background. so the fact is that the ethnic german population that lives there and has lived there has not had much exposure to people of other cultures, of other religions. and in western germany, this is not the case. so we actually have closer to 5% of the population which is of migrant background. and in some regions it's much higher where there's a lot of manufacturing and services and where the economy is healthy. it depends how much exposure there is between the groups. >> there is also a perception that the situaon for muslims in france is also bad, yet themselves as french. can you shed some light on this for us? >> sure, absolutely. just as you say, when muslims are interviewed in france, they say that, yes, they feel french,
which isn't necessarily the case in places like germany. unfortunately, there are a lot of problems for muslims in france. largely the fact that they're socio-demographically disadvantaged so they have higher unemployment rates. they're disproportionately living in the suburbs of large cities. and they generally have issues finding employment, so there's issues that there's discrimination in the workplace when resumes have a name that's of a muslim background. but at the same time, they very much play into the ideals of the french republic and do feel french. >> what about british muslims, how are they faring? >> british muslims are also facing issues of integration. of course, these people, as in france and some in germany, are the second or third generation. so really they're not immigrants, but they are, of course, of a religious group
that's a minority in the country. and british respondents in a public opinion survey we do about trends in immigration seemed to be very skeptical about ongoing immigration but also skeptical about the integration of minority groups in the uk as well. >> delancy gusten, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. we would also like to know what you think about this issue. our question tonight is should muslims and other immigrants do more to fit into their new countries or should those countries do more to make them feem -- feel welcome? you can tell us what you think by going to the "how you see it" section of our website, and you can find that at worldfocus.org. it was muslims who were largely the victims of a brutal three-year war in bosnia in the 1990s that left more than 100,000 people dead. today, the man charged with orchestrating many of those deaths went on trial at the
international criminal tribunal in the netherlands, though he refused to appear. among other things radovan karadzic, the bosnian serb leader at the time, is accused of being behind the massacre at srebrenica that killed thousands of men and young boys. it was a long time ago, but as you will hear in this report from itn's lindsey hillson, the memories are very much alive for those who are still seeking justice. >> reporter: they came all the way from bosnia to the hague, to see the man they blame for the death of their husbands d sons face justice. the women of srebrenica have waited3 years for this moment. they gathered to watch on a screen outside the courtroom. >> translator: we took a 30-hour bus ride because we expect some kind of justice, but there's none. it's very hard and upsetting for us. everything reminds us of 1995. my husband disappeared with my
family. this is really hard. >> reporter: the former president faces 11 charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws of war. he's seen here with the commander of the bosnian serb army, general ratko mladic who is still on the run. the prosecutors accuse mr. karadzic of responsibility for the most notorious atrocity of the bosnian war, the massacre of 7,000 men and boys at srebrenica as well as the siege of sarajevo. all part of an attempt, they say, to remove bosnian muslims and croats from territory claimed by the serbs. mr. karadzic was arrested last year. he'd been living in belgrade disguised as a new-age healer. he still has his defenders there, including his brother. >> translator: radovan is clear on this. as soon as the tragic war started, he issued orders,
written instructions on how soldiers should behave. so responsibility for all actions lay with unit command. >> reporter: the images of the bosnian war may have faded from people's memories, but this trial is meant to show that history and justice do not forget. the starving man made famous by this footage of the prison camp run by the bosnian serbs was in the hague today. >> translator: i came here because of the people who died in this war. i feel really bad that thousands of people died. and for what? no reason. it's very clear that this was a futile war. >> reporter: this is a test case for the prosecutors at the international tribunal. if they can't convict radovan karadzic, what credibility will they have? >> that was itn's lindsey hillson reporting. in afghanistan today, a milestone that puts the increasing dangers of that war in perspective.
this is now the deadliest month for americans since the conflict began eight years ago. the military said eight u.s. troops were killed today in kandahar province in southern afghanistan, seven when their vehicles were hit by multiple bomb strikes while on a patrol. the eighth was killed in a separate bombing. their deaths brings to 55 the number of american troops killed this month in afghanistan. across the border in pakistan, the army pressed deeper into taliban-held territory today, as it continued its latest offensive. the area is south waziristan, where the government claimed to have killed 42 militants in new fighting. this video was handed out by the army, which said it was progressing well on three fronts but also meeting resistance. verifying those claims is difficult because pakistan has blocked access to journalists and also for aid workers. however, "the new york times" offers some perspective saying
it remains to be seen how the campaign will play out in a region where the army has failed in the past, analysts said. the army has sent about 28,000 soldiers to south waziristan to take on about 10,000 guerrillas, a relatively low ratio according to military specialists. we were intrigued by a story that we recently came across about gay couples in uruguay being allowed to adopt. it was described as the first law of its kind in latin america. so that got us wondering about the state of gay rights in that part of the world, and this issue is our "beyond the headlines" segment tonight. and for more about it, we're gianted by felipe bruno martin fernandez, a visiting scholar from brazil at the the for lesbian and gay studies at the
city university of new york. welcome to the program. >> good evening, daljit, thank you for having me. >> how do attitudes towards gays and lesbians differ here in the united states compared to latin and central america? >> i think botregions, they have like homophobic acts as a public sentiment. homophobia is part of both socialization in both latin america and the united states. the difference would be in latin america, we are having really great advances towards fighting homophobia by the coalition between the state, lgbtq movements and universities. lgbtq movement would be the association of lesbians, gays and transgenders. >> latin america is an overwhelmingly catholic region of the world. how does that affect attitudes towards gays and lesbians? >> i think religion is part of everybody's socialization. religion, especially christianity and catholic religion and new pentecostal religion, they give models of
what to be and how to be married and how the couples should be. so this model of religion, it produces the kind of homophobia that we see today. and they are advocating against lgbtq rights in this sense. >> we noted this example of uruguay recently passing legislation around adoption. why now is there a particular reason why that happened and do you think it's going to in other part of latin america? >> we hope so. because uruguay was a great example since approval of divorce in the mid-'30s. it was the first country in latin america to approve divorce. and then to have full equality to women, then marriage between same-sex couple and now adoption. so latin america's facing a really good time in what we could say about the advances in the sexual agenda and homophobia agenda. >> thank you very much for joining us on the program. >> thank you.
and now to our "signature" story, part two of our look this week inside the east african nation of ethiopia. chances are that you have heard a lot lately about how connected our world is. sure, it is true enough, but not quite the entire world. "worldfocus" special correspondent martin seemungal visited ethiopia earlier this year, and he discovered a village where life goes on just as it did centuries ago. it's truly another world. >> reporter: it is miles from anywhere, a far away place in the ethiopian highlands. the village, population 2,000, has been here for centuries.
it's almost as old as christianity itself. the church bells, those worn stones, are hundreds of years old. old and isolated, virtually cut off from the outside world. this is a village elder, knows everybody. well, not quite. has he heard of george bush? no, he says. ask him if he's ever heard of oprah winfrey. another no. what about barack obama? "no, i've never heard of barack obama" he says. yes, that's news, the one about the first african-american president of the united states didn't make it to this part of africa. he isn't just in another country on another continent, it really is another world.
it is a world where farm tools are still forged over an open flame. where village elders settle disputes through the reconciliation ceremony. one of these boys hurt the other in a fight. the injured one carries a stone as a symbol of his pain. the other takes it as a sign of apology. people in our village share a a lot of things, he says. if they become enemies, it would a problem. so he says we have to reconcile and live in harmony. life is hard here. you can tell just by looking at the place. the houses are sturdy, built of heavy stone, but there is no electricity or running water. and these days, they're a little worried. the first thing you notice when you walk into this village is all the plowed fields. they're everywhere.
in fact, they've been like that r four months because that's how long people here have been waiting for it to rain. the older people in the village say they will never forget what happened during the great fami of 1984, when nearly half the village perished. she was a young girl then. "i worry a lot when the rain doesn't come," she says. "what am i going to feed my children?" this image is similar to 1984. she has these pots full of grain, emergency rations. like children everywhere, they seem oblivious to the worries of their parents. for kids who don't have much, it doesn't take much to make them laugh. their playground is in the stable with the cows. livestock are like gold here. and by village standards, this man is rich. he earns about $3 a day.
he has a six children, and for him every day is almost a crisis. on this day, he was worried about his two daughters. they were out gathering firewood. would they be safe? would they come back with enough? because otherwise there would be no fire to cook with. a small victory then for them, full baskets. "we like collecting," she says, "because we know we must have firewood to cook our food. i go to school in the morning," she says. "then after lunch i go to collect firewood." at dusk another daughter takes her younger brother to fetch water from the well. over a mile down a rocky path. it weighs more than 40 pounds, but she carries it back without any help. at night they can relax a little.
the grandmother becomes a great source of entertainment. no tivo or youtube here, just old fashioned ghost stories. a couple of things about the night. first of all, it's cold. secondly, there are hyenas around this village. that means the donkeys and goats have to be inside, with the people. just across the room from where the family sleeps. they get kicked out of the house at dawn, as the rest of the family is starting the day. some of the village children are already hiking down the hill to school. the school is the biggest, most modern building in the village. the children don't come with much, wear the same clothes every day, and there are no snacks or lunches. yet they are incredibly disciplined and determined. they all want to be teachers because that's the only profession they've ever seen or heard about.
♪ >> it's rock music. who wants to dance with me? >> reporter: the school was visited recently by save the children. she's based in ethiopia. >> you feel like they may be missing out on so much. but you know what? they are not. you never hear ethiopians whining. they're just glad to be alive, to have family. >> reporter: he knows there may be a better world for his children out there beyond his village, but right now he's only thinking about plowing his field in the morning in case the rain comes. for "worldfocus," i'm martin seemungal in northern ethiopia. and tomorrow we will look at coffee growing in ethiopia, which has a long history in that country. >>that is "worldfocus" for
this tuesday. but don't forget you can find more news and perspective on our website at "worldfocusworldfocus.or worldfocus.org. i'm daljit dhaliwal. for me and the rest of the team, thank you for joining us. we hope to see you back here tomorrow. until then, good-bye. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com major support for "worldfocus" has been provided rosalind p. walter and the peter g. peterson foundation, dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing america's future. and additional funding is provided by the following supporters --